Small-Town Thoughts on Mother’s Day: The Life-Long Benefits of a COMMUNITY of Caring Parents, Teachers, and Friends

So many of my lifelong friends are posting thoughts about Mother’s Day.

Some are thanking Mothers who live nearby or in another state.

Some, like me, are thinking of their departed Moms and Dads.

Those who are thanking their Mothers from my hometown of Marks, Mississippi, should add my thanks to their Mothers.

Like so many kids in close-knit communities, which includes all small towns and many urban neighborhoods, we were raised by a community of parents and grandparents with shared values and a sense of responsibility to each other. Among the first things we were taught: respect not only your own parents but others. It was a very important lesson.

If kids were doing something good, other parents would praise us–and we knew the word would get back to Mom and Dad.

If kids were misbehaving, other parents would either tell us directly or tell our parents and let them handle it. So would teachers.

If kids were doing something dangerous, every parent would step in.

Perhaps I am romanticizing the past a little, but I think my memories are largely true. We were raised not only by our own parents but as part of communities–by school teachers, by Sunday School teachers, by parents of friends, and others.

To all those Mothers and Fathers, know that you have the loving thanks of generations of children, now (I hope) growing into the same kinds of caring parents and grandparents.